Wealthy states pledge to promote ‘green growth’

The aspiration of economies emerging from the global downturn with a distinct green hue gathered more force this week with Ministers from dozens of the world's richest countries pledging to promote low-carbon growth as part of their recovery plans.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) – a club whose membership boasts 30 of the world’s wealthiest states – held its annual ministerial meeting in Paris this week where sustainable growth was high on the agenda.

Ministers from all OECD member state plus those from candidate countries Chile, Israel, Estonia, Russia and Estonia, all signed up to a Declaration on Green Growth which amounts to ‘a solemn pledge to promote environmentally friendly green growth policies’ and work towards reducing their carbon emissions.

The pledge is being portrayed as a sign of good faith from the signatories in the run up to the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen in December.

Non-OECD emerging economic powerhouses India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia were invited to the forum but did not sign the pledge.

“We are talking about a paradigm shift in policy,” said Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo, who chaired the meeting.

“Technological development and actions to protect the environment and combat climate change can also be harnessed in favour of economic growth.”

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Looking beyond the crisis, OECD countries and countries that we hope will shortly swell our numbers have made a solemn pledge to promote environmentally friendly green growth policies in favour of sustainable economic growth based on low carbon energy use.

“We have recognised the importance of well-targeted policy instruments encouraging green investment to contribute to both short-term economic recovery and long-term green infrastructure.

“This is a significant signal and staging post on the road to what we hope will be an ambitious agreement on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year.”

Pdf files of the full declaration can be found in English and French here.

Sam Bond

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